Levon Vincent, Impression Of A Rainstorm

[Novel Sound]

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While the problem isn’t nearly as acute in dance music as in other hype machines — this is, after all, still more or less a singles game, where an artist tends to release multiple records year — there’s still a good deal of heart-racing and bated breath that precedes a high-profile release. But since the re-emergence of his Novel Sound label this summer, Levon Vincent has pretty well snipped hype out of the formula. With Man Or Mistress and now Impression Of A Rainstorm, the mercurial Vincent’s latest, I read no RA or FACT news briefs informing me a new Novel Sound transmission was imminent, nor did I receive a Boomkat blast urging me to act now while they still had a few of the precious, hand-stamped items in stock. Rather, I’d get a text from LWE’s Chris Miller with the news that there’d be a Levon Vincent 12″ on the shelves within a week, one expressing as much incredulity as I experienced reading it. And sure enough, within a week, I’d be at Halcyon (the Brooklyn record store where Vincent once arranged his shifts so that he’d be working the counter on the nights Jus-Ed broadcasted his radio show out of the shop’s DJ booth) picking up my copy. The kind of hyperventilating I do when I place one of these 12″s on my turntable is a vastly different experience from what it could have been: I’m genuinely excited to hear what form Vincent’s inimitable sound will take, not expecting to have my life changed or whole concept of music altered, or whatever experience X press release or Y tweet or Z podcast might normally be corralling me into.

Best of all, I really doubt this is some kind of strategy on Vincent’s part: he’s truly one of the most humble individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and it’s of a piece with everything I know about him. And to say his music — razor-sharp house and techno (but never tech-house) with an unmatched fearlessness about sound — can speak for itself puts it rather lightly. I sense an understatedness in everything Vincent releases (even “Man Or Mistress,” a track as gargantuan as any put forth this year), but Impression Of A Rainstorm is low-key even by Vincent’s standards. Though it follows the banger/banger/less-than-banger formula now familiar to Novel Sound completists, the record is, as the title implies, as right for gray skies as for pitch-black clubs. On “Impression Of A Rainstorm,” Vincent’s minor-key melody is barely visible through sheets of noisy percussion; like your reflection in a puddle, it takes shape only for fleeting moments, only to be obscured by more bluster. Tenser but no more boisterous than the title cut, “Revs/Cost” recalls a less expansive “Double Jointed Sex Freak” in its dissonance and sharp edges. “Pivotal Moments In Life,” which, falling in the B2 slot, means it’s the collection’s least peaktime-oriented cut, actually defies expectations a bit: lighter (as the spot dictates) despite its minor key, it’s the track here most likely to set the floor on fire. Now six releases into the Novel Sound experience, Levon Vincent hasn’t let up. And while we already know he doesn’t need buzz to sell records, he doesn’t necessarily need huge sounds for a big release, either.

Aybee  on November 29, 2011 at 6:19 PM

THIS > “…he’s truly one of the most humble individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and it’s of a piece with everything I know about him.”

lerato  on November 30, 2011 at 7:12 AM

wicked review !!! levon is a sweetheart and super talent !

mr. bispo  on November 30, 2011 at 7:19 AM

Couldn’t have put it better: “…he’s truly one of the most humble individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and it’s of a piece with everything I know about him.”

Sibonelo Zulu  on November 30, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Got this a few days ago. B2 is sick.

DJ QU  on November 30, 2011 at 10:45 PM

great work Levon. keep ’em comin!

Carlj  on December 1, 2011 at 10:48 AM

He’s also an excellent DJ, selection, mixing and his productions rock like a m.f.

Hennessy  on December 2, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Just picked this up today, another amazing release, have been buying on site since the start and im yet to be disappointing. Can also agree on the gentleman bit, had the pleasure of meeting him on his trip to play over here(Cork, Ireland), couldn’t have been nicer.

Oliver Linley  on January 16, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Pivotal moments gives me the shivers

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